Goddard Riverside's Options Center Wins 2018 College Access Organization Award of Excellence

September 26, 2018

By Lindsay Broderick, Staff Writer

The Options Center at Goddard Riverside Community Center received the College Access Organization Award of Excellence today at NCAN’s 23rd annual national conference in Pittsburgh. Judith Lorimer, director of the Options Center, and LaKisha Williams, the center’s policy and advocacy manger, accepted the award from Pranav Kothari, founder and CEO of Revolution Impact, LLC and former NCAN board member.

The College Access Organization Award of Excellence recognizes the work of a college access/success program that is committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams.

From left to right: Pranav Kothari, former NCAN board member; Judith Lorimer, director of Goddard Riverside's Options Center; and LaKisha Williams, the center’s policy and advocacy manger.

Goddard Riverside's Options Center is a New York City-based NCAN member organization that opened its doors in 1985. The Options Center has a three-pronged approach to increasing college access for low-income, first-generation, and minority students in New York City. This approach includes a) providing direct college access and success counseling for its students, b) offering professional training on college and financial aid counseling for employees of schools and organizations and c) participating in the college access policy and advocacy community.

The outcomes data for students served by the Options Center reinforce the effectiveness of its approach:

  • On average, 85 percent of high school seniors and 60 percent of young adults or adults-out-of-school served through the Options’ College Access Counseling program will matriculate the following year.
  • Of the college students in the 2016-17 Options Success Program cohort, 97 percent continued to their second year of college.
  • Sixty-one percent of Options students who directly enrolled in a four-year degree program in 2012 earned their bachelor’s degree in four years, and 70 percent achieved their degree within five years.

The Options Center partners with hundreds of college access and success organizations to help advance its postsecondary access and success mission. For instance, in 1989, the center supported development of the College Access Consortium of New York, which today includes hundreds of organizations. Another example of a partnership the center is involved in is #DegreesNYC, a collective impact initiative focused on advocacy work to help close the postsecondary achievement gap. These are but a few examples of the center’s many impactful partnerships. 

As the winner of this award, the Options Center will receive $5,000 to put toward general operating support, scholarships, and/or professional development. Past winners include:

  • 2017: Chicago Scholars, Chicago, IL
  • 2016: Academic Success Program, Dallas, TX
  • 2015: College Crusade of Rhode Island, Providence, RI
  • 2014: Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation, Forest City, NC
  • 2013: College Bound, St. Louis, MO
  • 2012: uAspire, Boston MA
  • 2011: College Forward, Austin, TX
  • 2010: Bottom Line, Jamaica Plain, MA
  • 2009: College Possible, St. Paul, MN
  • 2008: Ohio College Access Network, Columbus, OH
  • 2007: Access College Foundation, Norfolk, VA

NCAN solicits nominees from its membership for the annual Awards of Excellence in College Access and Success. A committee of NCAN members reviews all nominations, with final decisions confirmed by the NCAN board of directors. NCAN thanks the eight members of the 2018 Awards Committee for their service:

  • Maria Carvalho, The College Crusade of Rhode Island
  • Ramiro Fonseca, Project GRAD Houston
  • Angel Garcia, Georgetown University, Institute for College Preparation
  • Tim Herron, Degrees of Change
  • Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees
  • Troy Miller, Florida College Access Network
  • Monica Montenegro, East Bay Consortium of Educational Institutions, Inc.
  • David Rodriguez, Metropolitan Education Commission
  • Alexandra Sabin, Academic Success Program

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